Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Moving shop

My blog has a new home, right here.

And very, very soon, I'll be doing a White Horse ARC giveaway!

So come on over!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Making it new; making it shiny

There's nothing new under the sun, they say. And that's true. Everything that's been done has been done again a million times over. So where does that leave us, the writers, the storytellers, the mythmakers? How do we take the old and freshen up it enough to keep what-happens-next a secret from the readers until we're ready for them to know it?

My answer is this: I don't know.

I don't fully understand the process, the way I take something and twist it into a shape that differs slightly from the others on the shelf. I only know how I fuel myself so it's possible:

1. I read. I read widely. Inside my genre and out.

Terry Pratchett is the poster child for reading widely. He's the guy who picks up obscure non fiction wherever he finds it, subjects like lawnmower repair, books most of us would slide right on past to pick up old favorites. And it shows. His novels are tightly packed with crunchy, delicious details that enable me to see old things through a new lens. They're a blend of philosophy, science, psychology, mystery, romance, and do-it-yourself in a Fantasy wrapper.

2. I live a life outside of books.

I have other interests. I go places. I do stuff. I talk about things that have nothing to do with books, writing or publishing. The creative well gets topped up on a regular basis by living a fun, interesting life. Every experience adds to the pool of stuff-I-have-to-write-about. Even the crappy moments (and we all have them) make the writing richer.

3. I watch movies.

My guy and I are both writers and we're both avid movie-watchers. Movies get picked to pieces over wings and beer. We rip the seams out of not-so-great films and discuss how we'd put them back together—bigger and better. We analyze what works, what doesn't work, what only works because one of us has been there/done that/has the right body parts. You can learn as much from a bad movie as you can a good one. All of this helps construct better stories. It's also a good way to see how things have been done (or overdone) already.

A good book is basically Frankenstein's monster. It's made up of bits everything we've done, read, watched, experienced. The more we take in, the better and more original we can be on the page.

If you do it differently, I'd love to hear how. There's plenty more room in my bag of writing tricks.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Release dates

So here is what I know, thus far.

WHITE HORSE will be on shelves in the US and Canada on April 10, 2012, and in stores in the UK on April 26.

The very best thing about this?

You'll be able to buy (and read!) my book before the world ends on December 21, 2012.

Not, you know, that I believe in such things.

Ignore the bunker in my backyard. Ignore it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The End is Nigh! But Not That Nigh.

May 21st came and went and all I lost was a cup of coffee and a pair of sunglasses. Which means Harold Camping was wrong. Again.

I have to wonder: Do the Harold Campings of the world REALLY believe their predictions, or do they quietly snicker as they calculate a new Use-By date for humanity?

WHITE HORSE takes place before, during, and after an apocalypse, so it should be no surprise to anyone that I'm fascinated by all things end-of-worldish, be it at the hand of deities or the natural result of too much hairspray used to prop up an entire generation of mall bangs. I love those shows--you know the ones--where experts give it to us straight: A black hole is coming right for us! We're going to die from a rare strain of turtle flu! The Venusians are coming, and they want to know if we human punks feel lucky!

I feel pretty lucky, but that didn't stop me watching people for signs of levitation and transparency on May 21, even though I don't believe in the Rapture. I'm more inclined to believe we're all going to die—or un-die—at the hands of zombies. I'm counting on my dog to bark and let me know they're coming—which she probably won't unless they're wearing duck costumes.

Is Yellowstone going to blow? Probably. Eventually. One day a meteor might slap us out of the sky. Maybe The End will piggyback the cure for cancer.

Will Harold Camping get the next one right? Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I don't lose sleep over it, but the speculating fuels my creative fires. That same speculating has given birth to some of my favorite books: Stephen King's THE STAND; Susan Beth Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW IT; WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks. Daniel Wilson's ROBOPOCALYPSE is sitting here, eager to be devoured. I've read along as a hundred versions of our world screeched or limped to a halt. Basically all anyone has to do to get me to buy a book is say, “You know this book? In it, the world ENDS.”

Sometimes I can't help but wonder: What if the experts, the authors, the Harold Campings are right? What if this time's the--

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Cole Alpaugh's THE BEAR IN A MUDDY TUTU

The lovely and talented Regan Leigh is running a competition for her recently-published writing partner, Cole Alpaugh. So head on over to her blog and check out the goodies--but not until you're done reading this review, of course! (There's an amazon gift card AND chocolate-covered bacon involved. Yum!)

Cole Alpaugh's novel, THE BEAR IN A MUDDY TUTU, underscores and tosses a few exclamation points at the old adage about not judging books by their covers. The bear will lie and tell you this is a book for children, but dare to crack the spine and you'll find a work of literary fiction, most definitely for grown-ups.

If pushed to single out the protagonist of TUTU, I'd probably point to the first character we meet, Buddy Wayne Hooduk. He's damaged goods right out of the box, his psyche used as a door mat for his mother to wipe her feet on. Pushed to breaking point, Buddy Wayne escapes his controlling mother and snatches up a how-to guide on becoming a cult leader. That's when his life begins in earnest.

Just as we've settled into Buddy Wayne's shoes, the scenery changes. Others step into focus and tell their heart-wrenching tales. The journalist with a kidnapped child, a girl searching for her dead father, a career alcoholic haunted by his dreams. Each of them, like Buddy Wayne, is their own kind of broken.

But I won't deny it: my heart, for the duration of this story, belonged to Gracie, the bear in the novel's title. Sweet, wistful Gracie, who tries so hard to do the right things and keep her humans happy. Cole pulls us into Gracie's head and shows us the quiet, resigned horror of an animal in bondage. And my heart ached....

I won't dig any deeper here; the discovery of story is so personal, each of us bringing our own baggage to join us in our reading spots. This book is about things lost and other things found. Which is the way life really is.

Ignore the dancing bear.
Do not make eye contact.
Flip to that first page.
I dare you...
There's a story inside, both charming and heartbreaking.

You can buy THE BEAR IN THE MUDDY TUTU right here.

Now go see Regan, because she's got chocolate-covered bacon (and other awesome things!) to give away.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back in the (reading) saddle again

Just as I predicted, my reading malaise is now over. It's been a year of change thus far, and once life was done turning me upside down and shaking me by the heels (in good ways), I was able to sink, once more, into the magic conjured by another mind.

The book to break the (brief, but simultaneously oh-so long) drought was Mark Hodder's THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK. Now I'm knee-deep in THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch. After that, I'll be cracking open the box of books labeled To Be Read; it's filled with treasures that caught my eye only to be cast aside when the apathy struck.

To those of you who offered reading suggestions, both in comments and via email, thank you. I'm always looking for new books to love.